Real estate investments generally are considered passive income – unlike income from a job, which is considered active – because revenue is generated from the money you invested rather than from the work that you do. You have to pay taxes on your income regardless of whether it's active or passive. Money earned from real estate investing is reported on the Schedule E form and gets carried forward to line 17 of your 1040 tax return. It's then included with your other income and is subject to regular taxes.

Grouping is important for a number of reasons. If you group two activities into one larger activity, you need only show material participation in the activity as a whole. But if the two activities are separate, you must show material participation in each one. On the other hand, if you group two activities into one larger activity and you dispose of one of the two, then you have disposed of only part of your entire interest in the activity. But if the two activities are separate and you dispose of one of them, then you have disposed of your entire interest in that activity.


There’s a saying that the biggest opportunity for improvement is at the margin. Boiled down, this means that you can reap big rewards for minor adjustments in behavior. Instead of using a check, debit card or cash to pay for daily activities and big expenses, using a cashback credit card can earn you a sizeable return each year. One of my favorite cards, the Discover it will even double all of the cash back you earn the first year!
If you are going to take the after-tax business income out of the company in the year it’s earned, then you’re not enjoying any tax deferral and the loss of the SBD is likely immaterial. If, on the other hand, the after-tax corporate income is retained in the corporation and not paid out as a dividend until a future year, then losing the deferral available on SBD income could be material.
Month 6: Check your account. Use that $5000 to buy VT or BND, making sure that the 70-30% ratio stays the same. This will force you to buy low. The theory is that stocks and bonds generally have an inverse relationship. If stocks have gone down over the past six months, bonds likely have gone up. This means that you’ll have to buy more stocks than bonds in order to keep the 70-30% ratio, which is good because stocks are probably “cheap,” while bonds are “expensive.”
In February 2018, the government of Canada introduced new rules for passive income that could affect how your small business clients are taxed. The new income rules relate to the amount of business income that can be taxed at the lower small business rate versus the higher corporate rate. If you work with small businesses that have a significant amount of passive income from investments, get to know these new rules so you can be ready to answer all your clients’ questions.

Sharon, you missed my point completely. If you feel you need $8000/month to live the life you want, and you get that $8000/month through passive income, you may feel financially free for a few months. However, next year, you’re not going to be wanting $8000/month + 3% inflation; you’re going to be wanting $16,000/month. This is greed 101. It’s normal. It’s natural.


Wow! What an awesome list! My favorite is the stock photography because I love photography. I have had some success there, particularly with one photo I make some decent income from. I think the key with stock photography is finding a shot that is high demand. Then, find a new unique way to frame that shot. This is the reason my St. Louis Arch photo is a top 10 on both ShutterStock and iStockPhoto. Thanks for the awesome ideas above!
Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger
I wish I had more time to put into real estate. Given the run up since 2012, I may even be interested in selling my condo that I currently rent out. I need to get it appraised to really see what it’s worth, but I think conservatively it’s gone up ~50%, although rent is probably only up ~10% or so. I am bullish on rents going up in the future… mostly in line with inflation, or perhaps even slightly faster due to constricted credit and personal income growth which should provide a solid supply of renters. At this point, I just don’t want to manage the property. I’ll probably look into a property manager as my time is likely worth turning it into a nearly passive investment.
If you love design and you are an artistic person, selling digital products on Etsy could be a great way to earn passive income. Digital products require little maintenance, your customers will simply receive a link to download them (which means you don’t have to worry about shipping and returns handling). All you need to do is spend time upfront to create beautiful artwork! (Easy right?)
Airbnb is a concept that has only been around for a few years, but it has exploded around the globe. Airbnb allows people to travel all around the world and to stay in accommodations that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. They do this by staying with participating Airbnb members who rent out part of their homes to travelers. By participating in Airbnb, you can use your residence to accommodate guests and earn extra money just for renting out space in your home.
I have to agree. Our Duplex cost us 200k initially in 1998. Over time and completely refurbishing the property with historically appropriate sensitivity, we invested another 200k or so. We just had a realtor advise us we could ask 700k for it today. It nets us 30k annually after taxes, insurance and maintenance. We still have a loan on it which I have not taken into account, that will be paid off within 5 years if we keep it. My mental drama now is, while I am quite giddy over the prospect of earning a tidy sum of profit if I sell, what then would I do to equal the ROI and monthly income this thing generates? Rents are low, they should be 4k a month and will only go up. Tempted to keep it and not sell. And while I do have some stocks, I basically suck at them. I am much better at doing properties.
The average period of customer use of the property, as figured in (1) above, is 30 days or less and you provide significant personal services with the rentals. Significant personal services include only services performed by individuals. To determine if personal services are significant, all relevant facts and circumstances are taken into consideration, including the frequency of the services, the type and amount of labor required to perform the services, and the value of the services relative to the amount charged for use of the property. Significant personal services don’t include the following.

You will get a good gauge of the market when you release your app. It’s analogous to going fishing. You have to cast your app out to see if anything bites. Once you get a few bites, you can start adding a few new features to improve your app passive income. A couple bells and whistles. Finally, start paying attention to feedback. The best way to set yourself up for success with both analytics and feedback are to integrate them both before releasing your app.


I also disagree that every person will crave more and have to go for more. That may be a true statement for a lot, but it doesn’t have to be true and it isn’t for everyone. The other perspective of that is that most likely the people who get themselves to financially freedom, because it is no small feat, are the type of people who are extremely driven and motivated to further challenge themselves, so it’s doubtfully in their nature to stop once they actually can.
But how exactly can you generate passive income? Some methods for earning passive income require very little work on your part. Investing, whether in the stock market or with a bank, is the best way to make your money grow with very little ongoing effort. It just takes a different type of discipline – the discipline to spend less than you make and resist investment decisions based on emotions.

Dividend investing is right up there for sure. You don’t have to charge $48. You can charge <$10 to boost sales. The internet has enabled so many creatives to publish their works at a low cost. People will surprise themselves if they try to create like when they were in school. The other reason why I have Creating Products edging out dividends is because of the much higher POTENTIAL to make a lot more money. For example, $20,000 a year in book sales requires $570,000 in dividend investments to replicate the same amount. Plus, there is capital risk. With book sales, there is a correlation with EFFORT, and you are not beholden to the whims of the markets.
Passive activity loss is defined as “the excess of the aggregate losses from all passive activities for the taxable year over the aggregate income from all passive activities for that year.” A passive activity is any trade or business where the taxpayer does not materially participate. The taxpayer would materially participate in an activity if “they are involved in the operations of the activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis “Dr. Hardy's activity does not meet the material participation test.
You need to decide which machines you want to run, get the necessary licenses to operate them (you're selling items so you need to get sales licenses and whatnot from your state), buy the machines and a truck for the items in the machines, find a supplier of the products, and then finally you can secure locations. Finally, you need to service them periodically or hire someone to service them.

Making legitimate passive income isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some of the best passive income ideas might take a little time to set up but can start cash flowing within a couple of months and will provide a consistent monthly income for years or more. The most important point is just to get started. You make exactly $0 on the passive income sources you never start.
Flynn, who blogs at Smart Passive Income and discusses his secrets at the Smart Passive Income podcast, defines passive income as “building online businesses that take advantage of systems of automations that allow transactions, cash flow and growth without requiring a real-time presence. We don’t have to trade our time for money one to one. Instead, we invest our time upfront, creating valuable products and experiences for people, and we reap the benefits of that time invested later,” he says, adding, “It’s not easy. I just want to make sure that’s clear.”
Have you developed a particular brand or system that others can benefit from?  The options here vary quite a bit.  For example the rock band Def Leppard is able to license their brand because of their massive success.  Or look at a college sports franchise like the UW Badgers, who have created an amazing brand around a great sports team (Go Badgers!), everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs.  All of these are potential sources of passive income, if you are the one that has created the brand or process of course!
If you have a spare bedroom, you can find a roommate or list the space on AirBnB for travelers. Having a roommate is the more passive of the two, as being an Airbnb host will require more work in the form of turning over the room between stays. This is a super painless way to earn $500 to $1,000 a month without much effort – you may even be able to cover your mortgage payment with this extra income!
Investing in rental properties is an effective way to earn passive income. But it often requires more work than people expect. If you don’t take the time to learn how to make it a profitable venture, you could lose your investment and then some, says John H. Graves, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) in the Los Angeles area and author of “The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement.”
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